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Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: "Shepherding Horses"

Humphreys, Kent. Shepherding Horses: Understanding God’s Plan for Transforming Leaders. Oklahoma City: Lifestyle Impact Ministries, 2010

Humphreys builds this leadership book on an allegory designed to narrow the field of influence concerning leaders. He proposes that within the flock for which the pastor is responsible as shepherd, horses have infiltrated. These horses are for Humphreys symbolic of strong workplace leaders within the church--and these leaders must be tamed.

Humphreys begins by asking “What did Jesus do?” as the perfect shepherd. He proposes that horses are trained when they respond to the gospel, understand God’s principles, work, reproduce and relate to the Father. He continues by building on a vision that he suggests will transform cities and churches. The principle hinges on the the way leaders are equipped as ambassadors through relationships, understanding each other contextually and affirmation.

The allegory on which the premise of the book is built is problematic as it exceeds the bounds of the principle it tries to illustrate: shepherds taming wild horses found among sheep? The allegory breaks down further as the author examines the character of the horse through the lens of scripture, only each scripture speaks negatively and Humphries forces it into his imagery with a positive spin. This reader is not convinced of the premise due to the weakness of the foundational argument. What did Jesus do? He did not train horses, but was a shepherd to sheep.

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